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The forty years in which King David ruled over Israel were prosperous years. Despite his faults, David was such a wonderful and successful monarch that he served as a type or Old Testament picture of Christ on His throne today. His path to the throne was not easy, however. It was a humble and frustrating beginning for David because there were those who were working against him and did not want to see him rule over Israel. They had other plans.
Part of that story is found in 1 Samuel chapter 2. Samuel long before came to the house of Jesse when David was a youth and anointed him as the next king after the death of Saul. Saul died in battle and David heard about it and enquired of the Lord as to what he needed to do. God sent him to Hebron where he was made king over Judah. But beginning in verse 8, the record says: “But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim;  and he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, and over all Israel.  Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David.  And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.”
It took that long seven and a half years for God’s appointment to be honored and for David to be recognized as king over all the tribes of Israel as God intended. When that time finally came, the fortunes of Israel changed, and a new and glorious chapter began to be written in the history of God’s people. Things always turn out better when God’s will and God’s way are respected and followed. The story suggests an idea that should make every Christian stop and think, and I want to talk about that today.
The monarchy of Israel got off to a rough start. The people were not content with God’s system of rule, and they became envious of the pagan nations around them who all had kings. So, they cried out to God for a king, and He answered by giving them Saul. Saul ended up an abysmal failure. His prideful arrogance and stubborn spirit of rebellion got him in trouble with God and God promised to take the throne away from him and give it to David. The remainder of Saul’s reign was a downward spiral. He became insanely jealous of David and insecure in his own position and finally died an ignominious death, alone and rejected.
David was the rightful heir to Saul’s throne but Abner, had other ideas. Abner was Saul’s secretary of defense, and he could not bear the thought of the throne being removed from the household of his former master. So, whatever measures had to be taken, he would take them to make sure that the interloper from Bethlehem, the upstart David, the lucky rock-thrower, would not assume control over the entire nation. Abner would just as soon die as to allow that Johnny-come-lately to usurp the house of Saul. This meant that he would have to put up with Saul’s incompetent son Ishbosheth who had no business being king over anything. But Abner figured that he could convince the elders of the tribes to make Ishbosheth a puppet king and he could be the one behind the scenes pulling the strings and calling the shots. And so, upon the death of Saul, Abner put his plan into motion and had Ishbosheth installed as king. That wasn’t God’s plan though. The prophet Samuel had gone to house of Jesse years before when David was but a youth and had anointed HIM to be king. But this didn’t matter to Abner. He was determined to run the kingdom by proxy through Ishbosheth.
Now, when David heard that Saul had died, he knew that he was supposed to be king, and he asked God what he should do. To his surprise and disappointment, God told him to go to the little town of Hebron and stay there. This was not the grand coronation that perhaps David had anticipated. Instead, David was relegated to rule over Hebron which was about like expecting to be made the President but instead being elected the mayor of some small, one stop sign town. To Abner, it was better to put up with a knucklehead like Ishbosheth who could be controlled and manipulated than the headstrong youth who had stolen the hearts of the people. So General Abner staged his successful coup and placed Ishbosheth as his puppet king over the remaining eleven tribes. ‘Let David rule over Hebron’… just keep him away from the rest of the nation.
Well, this all created a civil war in the kingdom. Ishbosheth and his men continually fought against David and his men. It was a time of divided allegiances in Israel, and it remained so for seven-and-a-half years. Israel didn’t amount to much in that time. They were preoccupied with an internal war while the enemies of Israel gained in strength and remained in control of parts of the land. Eventually, the tide turned in David’s direction though when Abner and Ishbosheth had a falling out. Ishbosheth made some terrible accusations against Abner and so Abner defected and went over to David’s side. That was the beginning of the end of Ishbosheth’s reign. Abner went to David and promised him that he would convince the other tribes to anoint him as the king over all of Israel. Within a short time, Abner and Ishbosheth were both killed, and finally, when all was said and done, all the other tribes came together, and anointed David and he became king over all of Israel. Remarkable things began to happen when that took place. David’s ascent to his rightful throne marked a turning point in the fortunes of Israel. Suddenly, defeats began turning to victories and David began what was to be a glorious 33-year administration. It ushered in a glorious era during which Israel became a powerful and expanding kingdom.
Does any of that seem familiar? It should. Because the same historic intrigue in the battle for Israel occurs every day in the battle for your soul and mine. The story I have just told is more than ancient history – it is an ever-ongoing drama played out on the stage of our personal lives today. Today, each one of us is ruled by one of two monarchs: either our heavenly David or the eternal Ishbosheth. There is one who has been anointed king of all and that means king of your heart, mind, body, and soul, anointed by God Himself to rule the affairs of man. And that King is Jesus. David, as king, is a representation of Jesus. Both David and Jesus came out of humble beginnings in Bethlehem, predestined by God to sit upon the royal throne. Just as God sent Samuel to duly anoint David to one day rule over His people, the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus standing in the murky waters of the river Jordan to rule over us.
Paul later made this connection when he preached in Acts 13:22-23 how that when God had removed Saul, “raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID THE SON OF JESSE, A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART, WHO WILL DO ALL MY WILL.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus.” Paul, in 1 Timothy 6:15 called Him, “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Referring to David as the king who pointed forward to Christ, Peter said in Acts 2:36 that “God has made this same Jesus both Lord and Christ…” David then, became a ‘type’ of Christ in that he was ordained to be a king, the king of Israel. Jesus has been ordained to rule over all that is or ever shall be. The trouble is, if we’re honest with ourselves, many of us have banished Him to rule over the “Hebrons” of our lives. We let Him have control of some little corner of the kingdom of our heart, while we set our Ishbosheth’s over the rest.
Perhaps you have neatly compartmentalized your life: there’s your spiritual life and then there’s everything else. There’s church and what you do from time to time on Sunday or when the circumstances of life demand so, but everything else is yours to do with as you wish. Our Ishbosheth’s are things like our jobs — our money — position — success — reputation — comfort — and pleasure. And all those little Ishbosheth’s rule our time; our affections; our treasures; our bodies; and ultimately our life. And you see, these Ishbosheth’s are puppets too — they are simply ways of allowing us to rule our own kingdoms instead of surrendering those things to Jesus. We set our Ishbosheth’s on the thrones of things we deem important while we keep Christ in Hebron to rule the things that don’t cost us too much to give up control over. And in refusing to place the proper king on the throne of our lives, we coronate instead our own self-wills – our Ishbosheth’s who have no right to rule at all! And our lives become a weak and a divided kingdom. A kingdom of divided allegiances, a life of inner spiritual conflict, a life of compromises, and a life of feckless, fruitless, and foundering faith. Jesus said “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other…” And the reason we fail in the Christian life and the reason so many live powerless lives over the world, over sin, and over the devil is because we have not made Jesus King of all.
It was not until the death of Ishbosheth that David was allowed to take control over all of Israel, which ushered in that nation’s golden age. When Ishbosheth was killed and David was enthroned, the fortunes of Israel were changed and what was a weakened and failing people became a powerful and sovereign nation. Stronghold after stronghold and enemy after enemy fell when David became king of all… and when we recognize Jesus as King of all strongholds will fall in our own lives! I want to remind you of three important things that took place when David was finally submitted to as king of all and in principle, these same things will take place in your life when you bow to Jesus as King.
David’s first order of business as the new king was to establish Jerusalem as his seat of power. The city, however, was under the control of the Jebusites. It seemed almost impossible, but David was determined to do it. He issued a challenge to his people saying that whoever could take the city would become his second-in-command. His nephew Joab, a mighty warrior and cunning military strategist stepped forward and volunteered to do the job. With an ingenious plan to get inside the city and take it, the city of the Jebusites fell to David and he moved in and made Jerusalem his capitol and it remained so for the better part of 1,000 years. David chose Jerusalem because it was central to the tribes. And Christ wants to be at the center of your life. His rule must emanate from the very heart of your being. And if you coronate Him as King of your all and King of your life, He’s going to establish His throne in the very throne room of your heart where He can have absolute rule of all around it. By the way, the name of Jerusalem, the City of David, is interesting. It means “peace” and the rule of Christ is about bringing peace to the hearts of men. Many believers don’t really know peace within. They are plagued with inner strife and turmoil because they have not surrendered all to Christ and He has not set up His throne in their heart. The bible says in 2 Samuel 5:9-10 “Then David dwelt in the stronghold and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward. So, David went on and became great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.”
The second thing David did as king was to conquer the enemy Philistines. The Philistines were an aggressive and warmongering nation who antagonized God’s people for generations. They were one of the fiercest and most unrelenting enemies David or Israel ever faced. Once David became king over a united people, they knew that meant trouble for them and so they immediately set in to try and destroy David and His new kingdom. And when you submit to Jesus as King, the darts and arrows of hell are going to be hurled at you. But David turned them back and as his kingdom grew and expanded, He finally brought them under control and completed his conquest. That’s what will happen when you make Jesus the king of all in your own life too. You’ll never win against the wiles of the devil and against the desires of the flesh, and against the pull of the world until you put Christ in charge. And when you fully surrender to Him, you’ll find the strongholds of Satan begin to fall one by one in your heart and in your life. James 4:7 says “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Just as David led the people to victory over their physical enemies, King Jesus will lead you to victory over those things that war against the soul.
And third, David made Jerusalem a place for God to dwell and be worshiped. Having secured the city and cleansed it of the wickedness that had controlled it, David’s third order of business was to bring the Ark of the Covenant there and eventually to see a house built there for God to dwell in. The Ark of the Covenant was where God manifested His presence among the people. It was a sacred and a holy object because it represented the very presence of God Himself. And when the Ark was finally brought to the city… David rejoiced, and the people worshipped. And eventually, a beautiful temple was built, and the ark placed within it. And the bible tells us that when it was dedicated, the Shekinah glory filled it and it became the glorious city of God and the place where God was worshipped. God wants you to be a temple. God wants to dwell in your heart through faith. 2 Corinthians 6:16 “For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.” Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
When Jesus becomes King in a person’s heart, sin is driven out, God moves in, and He dwells there, and our lives become a temple of service and an altar of praise and sacrifice to Him. Has Jesus moved into your heart as king? Have you surrendered control?
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